Agents of SHIELD: 112 “Seeds” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
After the big revelations of last week’s episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes things down a gear with a much more localised story about Fitzsimmons and their relationship to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. However, even with a smaller story than last week’s, there was still room for some pretty major developments, this time in Skye’s ongoing story.
The bulk of the episode, however, is taken up by the team returning to the Academy to investigate a mysterious device which froze over an entire swimming pool in a matter of seconds: it turns out that there are several schools of the Academy all of which are fierce rivals with each other. What this boils down to is that at the Science and Technology school they are investigating, Fitz and Simmons are the ‘cool kids’, and nobody pays much attention to Ward. So while Fitz and Simmons are giving a lecture about the dangers of untested technology, Ward and Skye investigate the other students: however, another device goes off and freezes a socially awkward but hyper-intelligent student called Donnie Gill. The team are able to unfreeze him and they send him back to his room, where Fitz visits and looks over some of Donnie’s genius inventions, even helping him with a problematic power source.
The rest of the team go to the ‘Boiler Room’, an underground bar set up by the students and start asking some questions, where Ward discovers that Donnie is the one who designed and built the ice-generating devices, and Fitz realises that he helped Donnie create a better power source for them. He tries to stop Donnie, but is knocked out by Seth, Donnie’s classmate and partner in crime, and they flee with the device.
Eventually, the team discovers why Donnie and Seth have been doing this: Seth’s father is a lawyer at Quinn Worldwide, the company owned by billionaire and professional slimeball Ian Quinn from episode 3, who is prepared to pay the pair of them handsomely in return for the device. However, Quinn calls Donnie and Seth and tells them that because of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s interference at the Academy, he needs a demonstration before he will invest any money in them. So they set the device off, and it creates a huge ‘super-storm’ before backfiring and killing Seth: fortunately the team tracks their location and manages to save Donnie before anything bad happens to him as well.
After a debriefing, the team sends Donnie to the Sandbox for observation, and on the way it turns out that the accident gave him the ability to generate ice, and thus the superhuman population of the Sandbox is increased by one. At least Donnie could provide some superhuman genius-level company for gravity-man Franklin Hall from episode three.
As the episode comes to a close, Coulson calls Ian Quinn on Seth’s phone and tells him that if his plane flies over any country friendly to S.H.I.E.L.D. then he will be treated as hostile and shot down. In response, Quinn tells Coulson that the Clairvoyant says hello, thus adding another layer to the Coulson-Centipede conspiracy at the heart of the show.
Speaking of conspiracies, in the episode’s B-plot Coulson and May track down a former agent in Mexico City who may have some information about Skye’s past. After a considerable amount of surveillance and a brief scuffle, the agent agrees to come with them and discuss the operation that resulted in a number of agents being killed. He tells them that a team was sent to track down and recover an 0-8-4 (an ‘item of unknown origin’ as detailed in episode two), and over the following few years the members of the team were killed one by one, leaving him as the final one. However, the big revelation is that the 0-8-4 they were tasked with finding and recovering was a baby girl of unknown origin and power: that baby girl then grew up into Skye. The agent tells Coulson that if he knows where the girl is then he should stay away, because she is incredibly dangerous and ultimately caused the deaths of the entire team.
Once upon a time, this would have been a big festering secret that threatened to tear the team apart, but after finding out how many secrets were kept from him in last week’s episode, Coulson decides to tell Skye everything straight away, and she is understandably distraught. However, as Coulson relays to May later on, the news only strengthened her resolve rather than destroying her entire world, and Coulson thinks he could learn a thing or two from her about receiving bad news.
While not quite as satisfying as the mid-season premiere, ‘Seeds’ definitely has its moments: the main plot is well-focused and shows some more interesting developments within the infrastructure of S.H.I.E.L.D., even down to the trainee agents, and the condensing of some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s enemies into a single entity. Similarly, the B-plot showed some the beginnings of some intriguing developments in Skye’s story, although they are currently running the risk of making her too much of a mystery and not enough of a character.